United States prosecutors have charged three men with conspiracy, including two who planned to travel to Syria to fight alongside Islamist jihadists.
One of the men, Akhror Saidakhmetov, 19, of Kazakhstan was arrested on Wednesday at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, where he was trying to to board a flight to Turkey on his way to Syria, reuters reported Thursday, citing officials.
Another defendant, Abdurasul Hasanovich Juraboev, 24, of Uzbekistan, had previously bought a ticket for a March flight to Istanbul, said Loretta Lynch, US Attorney in Brooklyn.
Abror Habibov, 30, of Uzbekistan, helped to fund Saidakhmetov’s efforts, according to prosecutors.
All three men live in Brooklyn.
Saidakhmetov and Juraboev were expected to appear in Brooklyn federal court Wednesday and Habibov in federal court in Jacksonville, Florida.
Juraboev drew the attention of federal agents when he posted messages on an Uzbek-language website about his desire to join the Islamist radicals and kill President Barack Obama if asked.
A US-led coalition has been fighting Islamist jihadists who control large swaths of Iraq and Syria.
Agents interviewed Juraboev at his home in August 2014, where he repeated his support for the jihadists.
He said he wanted to travel to Syria to wage war on the Islamists’ behalf and confirmed he would be willing to harm Obama, according to the criminal complaint.
He also told the agents about a friend, Saidakhmetov, who shared similar views.
Investigators recorded conversations between the two men using a confidential informant who approached Juraboev at a mosque, posing as a sympathizer.
The two men discussed traveling to Syria and how to carry out attacks in the United States, according to the complaint.
“I will just go a buy a machine gun, AK-47, go out and shoot all police,” Saidakhmetov said during one recorded conversation, the complaint said.
Saidakhmetov was an employee of Habibov, who operates kiosks that sell kitchenware and repair mobile phones in several malls in Florida, Virginia and Pennsylvania, prosecutors said.
Habibov paid for Saidakhmetov’s plane ticket and promised him additional funds, according to the complaint.
A number of others have been charged recently with conspiring to support Islamic State. A law enforcement official said there are currently Islamic State-related investigations in all 50 US states.
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